Ombudsman slaps 90-day preventive suspension to Panglao, Bohol local execs

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman slapped a 90-day preventive suspension to five local executives of Panglao, Bohol.

The Ombudsman imposed the preventive suspension to Panglao, Bohol Municipal Budget Officer Catalino Sumaylo, Municipal Engineer Rogelio Bonao, Municipal Treasurer Rena Guivencan, Administrative Assistant Dionisia Estopito and Administrative Aide Rene Lustre it sustained the motion filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

In its Resolution, the anti-graft court reiterated that any incumbent public officer arraigned under a valid information shall be suspended from office to prevent the hampering of the prosecution by intimidating or influencing witnesses, tampering with documentary evidence, or committing further acts of malfeasance while in office. It emphasized that the suspension is not a penalty.

Court documents showed that the five accused, together with former Mayor Benedicto Alcala are facing trial for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The Ombudsman found that as members of the Bids and Awards Committee, Alcala, et. al. procured a Kia Sorento in January 2008 worth P1.46million thru Direct Contracting without just and lawful basis.

The procurement of the vehicle from its Development Fund was not considered as an allowable expense under the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Budget and Management Joint Circular No. 01 Series of 2005.

Section 13 of R.A. No. 3019 provides that any incumbent public officer against whom any valid information under the Act or the Revised Penal Code, or for any offense involving fraud upon the government, or public funds or property, whether as simple or complex offense, and in whatever stage of execution and mode of participation is pending in court, shall be suspended from office.-EZC/Newsline.ph